Dharma Wheel

A Buddhist discussion forum on Mahayana and Vajrayana Buddhism
It is currently Mon Dec 22, 2014 10:26 pm

All times are UTC [ DST ]


Forum rules


Please click here to view the forum rules



Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 159 posts ]  Go to page 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 ... 8  Next
Author Message
 Post subject: Where is Mount Sumeru?
PostPosted: Wed Nov 14, 2012 10:42 am 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Fri Feb 12, 2010 3:19 pm
Posts: 5986
Location: Taiwan
This is a question that doesn't seem discussed terribly much by modern Buddhists given how the old cosmology, if it is assumed to be entirely physical, has been refuted by modern discoveries.

The classical cosmology, such as that illustrated in the Abhidharma literature, would be at odds with what we know in the modern day.

However, I am inclined to wonder if the cosmology, at least as the Buddha described it, is not entirely physical because much of it describes where devas and other such immaterial beings reside. Consequently, we can assume these locations are not physical locations as we would perceive them.

That being said, some ancient writers seem to have believed Mount Sumeru was at the center of the realm and hence it blocked out the sun causing nights, though I don't think that was universally accepted.

So where is Mount Sumeru? Was it an ancient theory that we can rightfully dismiss? Or is it perhaps a kind of provisional map for both the physical and celestial realms?

_________________
Flower Ornament Depository (Blog) Indrajāla's Contemplations (Blog) Exploring Classical Chinese (Blog) Dharma Depository (Site)


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Wed Nov 14, 2012 10:51 am 
Offline
Former staff member
User avatar

Joined: Tue Feb 23, 2010 11:22 pm
Posts: 4203
Location: Budapest
I remember reading somewhere that Sumeru can be identified as the Himalayas, and the spatial cosmology is mostly India, the southern continent of Jambudvipa.

_________________
"There is no such thing as the real mind. Ridding yourself of delusion: that's the real mind."
(Sheng-yen: Getting the Buddha Mind, p 73)

"Neither cultivation nor seated meditation — this is the pure Chan of Tathagata."
(Mazu Daoyi, X1321p3b23; tr. Jinhua Jia)

“Don’t rashly seek the true Buddha;
True Buddha can’t be found.
Does marvelous nature and spirit
Need tempering or refinement?
Mind is this mind carefree;
This face, the face at birth."

(Nanyue Mingzan: Enjoying the Way, tr. Jeff Shore; T2076p461b24-26)


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Wed Nov 14, 2012 11:29 am 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Thu Feb 03, 2011 2:50 am
Posts: 545
Location: Los Angeles, CA
I could swear that Malcolm identified a particular mountain as being what was probably thought of as Sumeru. I can't seem to find that statement with Google, though. It may have been on e-sangha.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Wed Nov 14, 2012 12:10 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Tue Nov 17, 2009 4:51 am
Posts: 1471
tomamundsen wrote:
I could swear that Malcolm identified a particular mountain as being what was probably thought of as Sumeru. I can't seem to find that statement with Google, though. It may have been on e-sangha.


Kailash.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mount_Kailash Ref: Jaina.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mount_Meru_(Mythology) Ref: Geo.

~~ Huifeng

_________________
My Prajñācāra Blog
Buddhist Studies at Fo Guang University, Taiwan


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Wed Nov 14, 2012 1:11 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Thu Feb 03, 2011 2:50 am
Posts: 545
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Huifeng wrote:
tomamundsen wrote:
I could swear that Malcolm identified a particular mountain as being what was probably thought of as Sumeru. I can't seem to find that statement with Google, though. It may have been on e-sangha.


Kailash.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mount_Kailash Ref: Jaina.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mount_Meru_(Mythology) Ref: Geo.

~~ Huifeng

Thanks, Venerable!

Image


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Wed Nov 14, 2012 2:05 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Fri Feb 12, 2010 3:19 pm
Posts: 5986
Location: Taiwan
Astus wrote:
I remember reading somewhere that Sumeru can be identified as the Himalayas, and the spatial cosmology is mostly India, the southern continent of Jambudvipa.


The southern continent is an inverted triangular and is thought to reflect Indian geography, though the continents are still supposed to be islands onto themselves and separated by vast distances.

Mount Meru can't really be Kailash because it isn't tall enough, nor shaped like an hour-glass, nor separated from the southern continent by a vast ocean.

Is it possible, I wonder, did later Buddhist thinkers reify into geographical terms what was supposed to reflect to a large degree a cosmic, not earthly, map?

From a Vedic perspective at least one author, Richard Thompson, argues that at least in his research Meru Cosmology is only partially physical with the rest being cosmic or celestial.

_________________
Flower Ornament Depository (Blog) Indrajāla's Contemplations (Blog) Exploring Classical Chinese (Blog) Dharma Depository (Site)


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Fri Nov 16, 2012 8:48 am 
Offline

Joined: Fri Oct 05, 2012 4:16 am
Posts: 185
Location: The Middle of Nowhere
It most likely doesn't exist.

_________________
A person once asked me why I would want to stop rebirth. "It sounds pretty cool. Being able to come back. Who wouldn't want to be reborn."
I replied. "Wanting to be reborn is like wanting to stay in a jail cell, when you have the chance to go free and experience the whole wide world. Does a convict, on being freed from his shabby, constricting, little cell, suddenly say "I really want to go back to jail and be put in a cell. It sounds pretty cool. Being able to come back. Who wouldn't want that?"


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Sat Nov 17, 2012 5:54 am 
Offline
Former staff member
User avatar

Joined: Thu Nov 19, 2009 3:20 am
Posts: 2995
Location: British Columbia
There used to be a Mt. Sumeru in Africa, according to Google maps. But I just checked and it isn't there any more!

_________________
Sergeant Schultz knew everything there was to know.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Sat Nov 17, 2012 5:57 am 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Tue Jul 03, 2012 2:39 am
Posts: 819
Location: USA
Most likely, it's an idealized representation of the Himalayan or Karakoram range with the Tibetan Plateau as the "top".

:namaste:

_________________
If they can sever like and dislike, along with greed, anger, and delusion, regardless of their difference in nature, they will all accomplish the Buddha Path.. ~ Sutra of Complete Enlightenment


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Sat Nov 17, 2012 12:49 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Fri Feb 12, 2010 3:19 pm
Posts: 5986
Location: Taiwan
viniketa wrote:
Most likely, it's an idealized representation of the Himalayan or Karakoram range with the Tibetan Plateau as the "top".

:namaste:


So, you're saying that the Buddha taught a merely idealized representation?

_________________
Flower Ornament Depository (Blog) Indrajāla's Contemplations (Blog) Exploring Classical Chinese (Blog) Dharma Depository (Site)


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Sat Nov 17, 2012 3:22 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Tue Jul 03, 2012 2:39 am
Posts: 819
Location: USA
Huseng wrote:
So, you're saying that the Buddha taught a merely idealized representation?


Buddha teaches what the people of a time and culture can comprehend.

:namaste:

_________________
If they can sever like and dislike, along with greed, anger, and delusion, regardless of their difference in nature, they will all accomplish the Buddha Path.. ~ Sutra of Complete Enlightenment


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Sat Nov 17, 2012 4:18 pm 
Offline

Joined: Fri Oct 05, 2012 4:16 am
Posts: 185
Location: The Middle of Nowhere
viniketa wrote:
Huseng wrote:
So, you're saying that the Buddha taught a merely idealized representation?


Buddha teaches what the people of a time and culture can comprehend.

:namaste:


:twothumbsup: Never thought of it like that.That's why I think he used terms like deva,asura,Sakra/Indra,etc.

_________________
A person once asked me why I would want to stop rebirth. "It sounds pretty cool. Being able to come back. Who wouldn't want to be reborn."
I replied. "Wanting to be reborn is like wanting to stay in a jail cell, when you have the chance to go free and experience the whole wide world. Does a convict, on being freed from his shabby, constricting, little cell, suddenly say "I really want to go back to jail and be put in a cell. It sounds pretty cool. Being able to come back. Who wouldn't want that?"


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Sat Nov 17, 2012 4:33 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Fri Feb 12, 2010 3:19 pm
Posts: 5986
Location: Taiwan
viniketa wrote:
Huseng wrote:
So, you're saying that the Buddha taught a merely idealized representation?


Buddha teaches what the people of a time and culture can comprehend.

:namaste:


I'm pretty sure they could have comprehended a sphere orbiting a sun. There are some later Indian astronomers who were teaching just that, too.

So you're proposing the Buddha knew otherwise, but taught them an entirely wrong model.

_________________
Flower Ornament Depository (Blog) Indrajāla's Contemplations (Blog) Exploring Classical Chinese (Blog) Dharma Depository (Site)


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Sat Nov 17, 2012 7:16 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Sat Oct 15, 2011 11:58 pm
Posts: 1428
Meru or Sumeru is a symbol, that may or may not have a literal aspect (i.e. an actual 'mountain' somewhere).


In Kundalini Yoga, Swami Sivananda wrote:
"Spinal Column is known as Meru Danda. This is the axis of the body just as Mount Meru is the axis of the earth. Hence the spine is called ‘Meru’. Spinal column is otherwise known as spine, axis-staff or vertebral column. Man is microcosm. (Pinda - Kshudra-Brahmanda). All things seen in the universe,—mountains, rivers, Bhutas, etc., exist in the body also. All the Tattvas and Lokas (worlds) are within the body."


From what I understand, sometimes a Spiritual symbol has a literal aspect as well, and sometimes it doesn't.

The Buddha Shakyamuni would have been well aware that the Earth revolves around the Sun.

Even the Vedics knew it.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Sat Nov 17, 2012 8:00 pm 
Online
Former staff member
User avatar

Joined: Fri May 14, 2010 9:27 pm
Posts: 10290
Location: Greece
So did (some of) the Ancient Hellenes: Philolaus (d. 390 BCE) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philolaus but that's some 200 years after Buddha.
:namaste:

_________________
"My religion is not deceiving myself."
Jetsun Milarepa 1052-1135 CE


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Sat Nov 17, 2012 8:06 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Tue Jul 03, 2012 2:39 am
Posts: 819
Location: USA
Huseng wrote:
So you're proposing the Buddha knew otherwise, but taught them an entirely wrong model.


No. You proposed that the representation was not entirely "physical". Astus proposed the Himalayas. I agreed and further proposed that any physical correspondence was likely to be the geographical area of the Himalayan or Karakoram range with the Tibetan Plateau as the "top". This area would have been familiar, even as just an oral tale, to many of the people to whom Buddha taught.

:namaste:

_________________
If they can sever like and dislike, along with greed, anger, and delusion, regardless of their difference in nature, they will all accomplish the Buddha Path.. ~ Sutra of Complete Enlightenment


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Sat Nov 17, 2012 8:16 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Sat Aug 04, 2012 8:30 pm
Posts: 50
Location: Scotland
What Astus and Lhug-pa are saying sounds correct.

I used to follow a devotional branch of Hinduism, in which the Sumeru-type cosmology figured. It was explained to me that it was a partially allegorical depiction of the nature of the universe, that is partly 'real', but largely a way of explaining metaphysics.

From what I remember, which was largely taken from the monolithic Bhagavata-purana, in short it does exist, mostly likely is Kailash, but the things said about it are not all to be taken as true.

What I find interesting about all this allegory stuff is that although we know that physically the moon revolves around the earth, and the earth around the sun, on some level it does make sense to say that the sun revolves around the earth. From our perspective, as earth-bound beings, the sun does indeed make its daily appearance, on its inexorable daily grind from east to west. …just as it does make sense to visualize the universe we would desire as a mandala, an idealized form, even as small as a disc, despite that the universe could never possibly fit into a disc, and even a largely two-dimensional one at that!

I suppose what I am trying to say is that although it is definitely not physically how depicted, it does make sense to the human mind to visualise the universe under the guise of that symbol.

_________________
~ Chökyi Lodrö


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Sat Nov 17, 2012 8:57 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Sat Oct 15, 2011 11:58 pm
Posts: 1428
chokyi lodro wrote:
It was explained to me that it was a partially allegorical depiction of the nature of the universe, that is partly 'real', but largely a way of explaining metaphysics.


Yeah, and in addition to what I'd posted regarding Meru and the Spinal Column, etc., I would also agree with Huseng's implication that Sumeru is a multidimensional symbol as well:


Huseng wrote:
However, I am inclined to wonder if the cosmology, at least as the Buddha described it, is not entirely physical because much of it describes where devas and other such immaterial beings reside. Consequently, we can assume these locations are not physical locations as we would perceive them.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Sat Nov 17, 2012 9:23 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Sat Oct 15, 2011 11:58 pm
Posts: 1428
gregkavarnos wrote:
So did (some of) the Ancient Hellenes: Philolaus (d. 390 BCE) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philolaus but that's some 200 years after Buddha.
:namaste:


From the following link:


Lhug-Pa wrote:
The Buddha Shakyamuni would have been well aware that the Earth revolves around the Sun.

Even the Vedics knew it.
In Isis Unveiled, H.P. Blavatsky wrote:
If the Pythagorean metempsychosis should be thoroughly explained and compared with the modern theory of evolution, it would be found to supply every "missing link" in the chain of the latter. But who of our scientists would consent to lose his precious time over the vagaries of the ancients. Notwithstanding proofs to the contrary, they not only deny that the nations of the archaic periods, but even the ancient philosophers had any positive knowledge of the Heliocentric system. The "Venerable Bedes," the Augustines and Lactantii appear to have smothered, with their dogmatic ignorance, all faith in the more ancient theologists of the pre-Christian centuries. But now philology and a closer acquaintance with Sanskrit literature have partially enabled us to vindicate them from these unmerited imputations. In the Vedas, for instance, we find positive proof that so long ago as 2000 B.C., the Hindu sages and scholars must have been acquainted with the rotundity of our globe and the Heliocentric system. Hence, Pythagoras and Plato knew well this astronomical truth; for Pythagoras obtained his knowledge in India, or from men who had been there, and Plato faithfully echoed his teachings.


Although it is said that Pythagoras was actually part Canaanite/Phoenician (African, 'Hamitic' or 'Chamitic').

:anjali:


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Tue Feb 05, 2013 4:50 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Sat Mar 27, 2010 11:44 am
Posts: 1577
All movement is relative, i.e. all movement occurs in relation to other bodies (moving or stationary). There is no error in conceiving earth as stationary and sun as moving. It is a matter of perspective. Nevertheless, you have to be more accurate in geometry and physics. The ancient descriptions say that sun and moon move around Mount Sumeru.
A perceiver on earth will see that sun moves above equator and that sun thus makes a perfect circle around the South pole or the North pole. As a conclusion the only correct place for Sumeru is either the South Pole or the North Pole. For several reasons it seems logical that the South pole is the actual place of Mt Sumeru. I think the Mount Sumeru world map is hugely old, indians have inherited it from an earlier civilisation. It must be more than 200 000 years old, or come from that period in earth's history.
Experientally humans still perceive sun as moving and earth as stationary, it is very difficult to experience earth as moving and sun as stationary.

_________________
svaha


Top
 Profile  
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 159 posts ]  Go to page 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 ... 8  Next

All times are UTC [ DST ]


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: LastLegend, Saoshun and 9 guests


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  
Powered by phpBB® Forum Software © phpBB Group